Not So Dangerousby Brendon Bosworth / 05.10.2009
There’s a portly man on stage. His face puckered, lips pursed with aversion, tentatively poking his tongue out like someone about to try gall bladder flavoured ice cream. He’s pretending to prepare to go down on an imaginary dick, one he really doesn’t want to suck. It’s forced, just like his jokes. A sight no one should have to see. It isn’t funny. Neither is his rambling repertoire about the types of women who give blowjobs, the type who don’t, the type who outsmart you; his wife and her poor technique, the gag he pulled on his wife about wishing she sucked it like her mother/sister. Waving as the blowjob boat leaves the harbour. It’s all quite painful – Simon Clayton and his tepid sex life.
Not as painful as watching Ahmed Ahmed produce a carbon copy of the routine we saw two and a half weeks ago, sat in this very theatre for the opening week of the Nando’s Comedy Festival. I’m back here to watch the ‘Danger Zone’. Since I enjoyed the first show so much I was expecting fire works. Offensive, cutting, witty fireworks that would attack the unattackable, violate the holiest of grails, and bring tears to these jaded eyes. I didn’t get them. Is it too much to ask that a comedian prepare a wholly different routine for this leg of the festival, since it’s billed as a separate entity? I posed the same question to my trusted sounding board, Mr Mungo Adonis. Being the softie that I am, I was lenient with my standpoint: “Ag, I guess you can’t expect the oke to come up with a whole new gig?” Not so for Mungo, who regularly cuts short the life of artists, musicians and anyone brave enough to bare their soul, with his acerbic reviews in print.
“Bru it’s their job; they get paid to do this.”
“Yes Mungo,” I replied softly, making sure not to let my snot fall onto the toecaps of his immaculately polished Doc Martens. But he’s right. It is their job and if there are two different gigs on the bill, well I’m expecting the people on stage to make me laugh both times round. Or at least meet me halfway, like Angelo Tsarouchas who mixed material from the last show with some new gags, mostly comments on South African idiosyncracies, picked up during his time here. But the big man seemed tired; perhaps worn down from almost three weeks on the go. And dammit, I was really hoping he’d bring something fresh to the table. Maybe move away from the fat jokes a little. He was far better as emcee for the main event; just seemed to pack more into it.
Loyiso Gola was the lynchpin this time round and put in a commendable performance, even if he started to run out of steam towards the end. Or was that me as the clock approached 12:30? The coloured brethren next to me went into seizure mode when he did his taxi gaartjie and wired up tik monster renditions. Loyiso is always in control up there, the metered eye movements and measured pauses dictating the crowd’s responses. A true puppet master. The stream of ‘pussy, pussy, pussy’ kind of killed me though. I reckon Loyiso is smarter than that. Maybe he was playing to crowd’s expectations of a show that’s supposed to be not “for the faint-hearted or mother Grundies”. The crux of the matter is that the ‘Danger Zone’ is always going to have to be about sex, to some degree. It’s tough to find the balance between crudity and humour. But not impossible. This time round, I don’t feel like anyone pulled it off properly. Clayton and his blowjobs; Loyiso and how any girl will put out the pussy for Nelson Mandela. Kagiso Lediga and his pincers, prawn hands, enacting a new phenomena called ‘pussy jacking’. Nothing your average highschool masturbator couldn’t drop. When Kagiso wasn’t acting like a prawn obsessed with low hanging labia, he was on form. The slow-mo man skit was tight – original concept, delivered with that expert nonchalance. Pity about the long-winded fart anecdote conclusion though.
I laughed throughout Mel Miller’s set. Chiefly because the dude is 66 and I kept picturing what he must be like as a grandpa, especially with that potty mouth. Power to Mel for charging it at his age. I think he might have generated the loudest applause of the evening. Nothing to shake Mungo’s seen-it-all-before tailfeathers though. I asked him outside, ‘what you think of that old guy? Funny hey?’
‘Nooit, those are all regular braai jokes,’ he said, coldly stroking that flabby piece of skin hanging off the neck of the iguana on his shoulder. But that’s Mungo for you. Man tells it like it is. And to be honest, even though I was convulsing in parts I didn’t leave feeling like I’d just been part of something dangerous.